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Mayers and Nichol Won’t Be Back in 2011-12

by Tony Khing / San Jose Sharks
“I like Scotty,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson said. “He epitomizes everything good about this game." (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
You can now add forwards Jamal Mayers and Scott Nichol as among those from the 2010-11 San Jose Sharks not returning in 2011-12. And the same applies to Assistant Coach Trent Yawney.

The players, who will become unrestricted free agents on July 1, recently met with Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson, who wanted to give the veterans plenty of notice so that they can explore other opportunities.

“I’ve always respected veteran players who have decisions to make with their families,” Wilson said. “I told them we’ll be going in a different direction.”

Mayers joined the Sharks as an unrestricted free agent last August. In 78 games this past season, he scored three goals and 14 points and led San Jose with 124 penalty minutes. The 36-year-old appeared in 12 postseason games and had 12 PIM.

San Jose was the fourth stop in his National Hockey League career. Mayers has played in 815 NHL games and has 202 points (84 goals) and 1,093 PIM.

“He’s very professional, a great teammate and carried himself very well,” Wilson said of Mayers. (AP Photo/Steve Mitchell)
“He’s very professional, a great teammate and carried himself very well,” Wilson said of Mayers. “I think we have some young players internally who are ready for that role. If they aren’t, we will look for other players.”

The 36-year-old Nichol just completed his second season with San Jose. He played in 56 games, scoring four goals and seven points with 50 PIM. Nichol appeared in 15 playoff games and had 26 PIM. But Nichol made his mark as a faceoff specialist. Among those who took more than 400 faceoffs in 2010-11, Nichol led San Jose with a 59.4 percent win percentage.

The Sharks are the fifth stop in Nichol’s NHL career. In 552 games, he has 118 points (52 goals and 66 assists) and 808 PIM.

“I like Scotty,” Wilson said. “He epitomizes everything good about this game. He paid his dues in the minors. He works hard. He’s a professional. I expect our guys to have learned from being around him. We have a lot of depth down the middle. I wanted to tell him up front that we were going in a different direction. He’s a highly competitive guy and that’s what you love in your players.

Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider, right, is beaten for a goal on a shot by San Jose Sharks center Jamal Mayers, not pictured, as center Scott Nichol (21) watches the puck go by during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
“We’ve got (Andrew) Desjardins, who’s a very similar player and has also paid his dues,” Wilson added. “He’s due the opportunity to come in and do that job.”

Mayers and Nichol join defenseman Niclas Wallin as players from the 2010-11 roster who will not be returning next season. On June 15, Wallin announced that he will complete his professional career in his native Sweden.

Yawney just completed his third season as an assistant coach under Head Coach Todd McLellan. Before coming to San Jose, Yawney served as a head coach with the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2005-06 season and 21 games in 2006-07. He also was the head coach for the Norfolk Admirals, Chicago’s American Hockey League affiliate, for six years (2000-05) before being promoted as bench boss of the NHL team.

“It was my choice (to leave the Sharks),” Yawney said. “I want to be a head coach in the NHL. I was always told by people I respect that if you want to be an NHL head coach that you have to coach in the American Hockey League. I’ve done that and it worked out for me. I felt it was in my best interests to go that route again.”

San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan argues a call against the Detroit Red Wings during the first period in Game 2 of an NHL Western Conference semifinal Stanley Cup playoff hockey series game in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, May 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
“Trent has done a very good job with us,” Wilson said. “I always promised him that I would help in every way I could to get him back to being a head coach in the NHL. He said that’s the best career choice for him and I support him100 percent. He’s a good man and a good friend.

“I’ve given him permission to talk to four or five teams that have head coaching opportunities,” Wilson added. “We thank him for everything he’s done and wish him nothing but the best.”

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Trent over the past three seasons,” McLellan said. “He has had a tremendous impact on not only our players and our organization but also on his fellow coaches, including myself. Trent has stated his desire to return to the NHL as a head coach and he feels this is his best avenue for success and we support him 100 percent.”


Wilson also provided an update regarding the status of unrestricted free agent defensemen Kent Huskins and Ian White and forwards Ben Eager and Kyle Wellwood. “We have options and choices as do they,” Wilson said. “We’ll make some decisions as we explore what makes our team better.”

The Sharks also have seven players eligible for restricted free agency. One of those is forward Devin Setoguchi, who scored 22 goals last season – 15 of those coming from Jan. 22 through the end of the season.

San Jose Sharks right wing Devin Setoguchi (16) celebrates after he assisted center Patrick Marleau (12) on a score against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series Thursday, May 12, 2011, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
“He’s certainly shown what he’s capable of. He scored some big goals for us in the playoffs and has scored 31 goals for us (2008-09) in the past,” Wilson said. “He’s an important guy for us. We have to get a deal that makes sense for us, for him and fits into our team building concept also. I think we’re making some progress.”

Another RFA is goaltender Alex Stalock. Stalock, who made his NHL debut on Feb. 1 but saw his season end after suffering a laceration to his left leg when an opposing player stepped on it with a skate in an American Hockey League game three days later, may not be available to the Sharks when training camp opens in September.

“We assume he’ll be back 100 percent, but I don’t know when,” Wilson said of Stalock, who won 19 games with Worcester this past season. “He’s healing. It was a very serious injury. We sent him to the Mayo Clinic to have the surgery he needed. With that type of injury, I’m going to assume it’s going to be longer than shorter (recovery time) and we want him to heal.”

As for Setoguchi, Stalock and the other five (Desjardins and fellow forwards Benn Ferriero, John McCarthy, Jamie McGinn and Frazer McLaren), negotiations will continue. “We have qualifying offers that will go out to several of them this week,” Wilson said.

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